Miscellaneous FAQ's

Compatibility

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*How is a Flooring Topcoat Different than a Furniture or Cabinet Finish?

Three features differentiate flooring topcoats:

  1. General Finishes flooring topcoats, such as Pro Image and Pro Shield, are fortified with significantly more urethane to increase durability.
  2. The slip rate of flooring topcoats is higher to improve floor safety and reduce the likelihood of slipping; approximately a 5.7 rating. For example, someone in socks is less likely to slip on a flooring finish, or a basketball player is less likely to slip on a good professional floor finish. Cabinet finishes have a much lower (negative) slip rate because folks want a silky, smooth finish on a cabinet or furniture; approximately a -.4 rating.
  3. A floor finish has more elongation - the finish stretches to provide flexibility over expanding and contracting woods.

 

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Can Oil and Water Based Products Be Used Over Each Other?*

Yes! But you must follow ONE simple rule to ensure the best possible finish: the underlying finish must be absolutely dry.

  • When using a water-based product over an oil-based product, such as water-based High Performance Topcoat over oil-based Gel Stain, wait 72 hours before applying the water-based product.
  • When using an oil-based product over a water-based product, such as oil-based Arm-R-Seal Topcoat over Water Based Wood Stain, wait 24 hours before applying the oil-based product.

OTHER RULES TO REMEMBER

  • You cannot mix water- and oil-based products together.
  • General Finishes Enduro-Var Urethane Topcoat can only be used over raw wood or General Finishes water-based wood stains or dye stains. Enduro-Var cannot be used with any oil-based product, sanding sealer or shellac.
  • Oil-based finishes amber over time; do not use them over white or very light colors.

VIDEO: Can oil and water based products be used over one another?

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*Are GF Products Compatible with Other Brands?

A good rule of thumb is to not mix brands. It might work, it might not. Most paint manufacturers formulate their products to be compatible within a "system" of products.

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*Can I Use General Finishes Products Over Wall Paint?

You can use GF products over wall paint but proceed with caution. Latex wall paints are engineered for a different purpose than wood finishes. Walls generally experience less wear and tear than horizontal surfaces, so they are manufactured without the resin systems that make furniture paint more durable.

DRY TIME: Latex wall paints should cure for 7-10 days before glaze or top coat can be added.

WARNING: Keep in mind that GF cannot guarantee an ideal finish when applying our products on top of or in combination with another company's products. We always recommend that you test for durability and aesthetics on an unseen area of your project before getting started.

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Which Topcoat Should I Choose?

General Finishes Water Based Topcoats:

  • High Performance
  • Flat Out Flat
  • Enduro-Var
  • Enduro Professional Topcoats (Enduro Clear Poly, Enduro Conversion Varnish, Enduro Water Based Laquer)

General Finishes Oil Based Topcoats

  • Arm-R-Seal Liquid Oil Based Topcoat
  • Gel Satin Topcoat

GENERAL PRACTICE:

  1. Oil based topcoats and Enduro-Var will amber over time.
  2. Water based Flat Out Flat and High Performance top coats dry clear.
  3. Never use any water based topcoat with long oils such as Danish, Tung or Linseed.
  4. Water based top coats clean up with water. OIl based topcoats require mineral spirits for clean up.
  5. Enduro-Var ADHERES WELL only over WATER STAINS, DYE STAINS, and RAW WOOD.
  6. If you use water based topcoats over oil based finishes, make sure that you wait 72 hours between the two products. It is essential to let the oil finish dry longer.
  7. Large/Detailed Surfaces - For more complex projects that have a lot of nooks and crannies or projects with large surface areas such as cabinets, we recommend either ARM-R-SEAL liquid oil based topcoat or any of our water based topcoats.
  8. Enduro Professional Top Coats are thinner and intended to be sprayed
  9. High Performance and Flat Out Flat can also be sprayed. If needed, it can be thinned by adding 10% water or Extender. Large surfaces such as cabinets or tables and complex projects with lots of detail are easier to cover with liquid top coat rather than a Gel top coat.

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Luthiers

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How do I repair a section that I have buffed through using Enduro-Var over an epoxy on a guitar

Our first concern is the use of the epoxy. Although you have may had success with this process previously, we do not recommend the use of Enduro-Var with epoxy or any oil based products. Enduro-Var works well on its own or with GFs water based finishes. There is a great possibility that future finishes can fail. 
 
Nor do we recommend adding denatured alcohol, which should not be used in any of General Finishes water based products. Denatured alcohol can change the polarity of a finish formula, kicking out polymer particles that would look like grit on the surface. Denatured alcohol could also deactivate the defoamers in the formula.
 
The use of Extender won't help you. It is a water based product and will not melt through existing layers of finish in the same manner that solvent finishes do.
 
We interpret that you are trying to remove witness lines which are basically sanding marks. For your current situation, we recommend attempting to build the area with just Enduro-Var, then buffing out with a 2000-3000 grit. You may have to sand down and start over if that is not successful.
 
Future forward. Use Enduro-Var on its own. Although it is a favorite among Luthiers, it is a unique hybrid finish that does not pay well with other finishes.

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Spraying Finishes

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How do I prevent orange peel from occurring when spraying High Performance Gloss with a 2.0 spray tip?

The 2.0 tip is too large for the gloss sheen when working with the Earlex 5500 sprayer. We recommend that you use a 1.5mm tip instead. 

One of the causes of orange peel is the application of too  much fluid and not enough atomization to break the product up into smaller droplets. It's similar to putting your finger over the end of a garden hose.

Gloss is going to be the most finicky of the all the sheens to spray. Both Critter and the Earlex devices are suitable but atomization can only be increased with smaller fluid tips or larger spray units.

 

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*How to Spray Water Based Finishes

General Finishes water-based products can be sprayed through compressed air, HVLP, airless or C.A.S. units.

SURFACE PREPARATION:

All surfaces should be clean and free from dirt and oil and sanded.

Indicated below are instructional videos we have for preparing a surface for a new coat of paint or finish:

SPRAY APPLICATION OF GENERAL FINISHES WATER BASED FINISHES:

All General Finishes water based topcoats and wood stains are ready to spray from the container without additives with the exception of Conversion Varnish. Always strain material through a medium to fine mesh filter before spraying. If necessary, in hot or dry climates, reduce 10 to 15% with General Finishes Extender to extend the open time.

PRE SEALING:

Softwoods such as Pine absorb stain at an uneven rate and may respond better to staining if the wood is pre-sealed. General Finishes Pre-Stain Conditioner Natural can be applied to raw wood to condition the surface for uniform penetration of the stain. Pre-sealing will cause the final stain to be lighter so you may need to use a darker color. Always test your color on a hidden part of the furniture. Allow the Pre-Stain Conditioner to dry 30 minutes before applying your final stain color.

If you are using a sprayer that has been used for oil based or lacquers, clean the unit thoroughly with acetone followed with hot water to purge the fluid passage. Apply a thin coat first that will dry and harden faster. Sand this first coat down to a smooth base on which to build your finish coats with a 220-320 grade foam sanding pad or #400-grit sandpaper. It is better to spray 2 thin coats rather than 1 heavy coat.

Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment. GF's general recommended fluid tips for Wood Stains and Top Coats are Compressed air - .040 and Airless - .009. 

RECOMMENDED TIPS FOR GENERAL FINISHES PRODUCTS USING HVLP:

  • Milk Paint: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Chalk Paint: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Stain Blocker: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Pearl Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • Glaze Effects: 1.8mm-2.0mm
  • High Performance Topcoat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Flat Out Flat Top Coat: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro-Var  1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water Based Wood Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Water Based Dye Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Topcoat:1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Exterior 450 Stain: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Sanding Sealer: 1.3-1.4mm
  • Enduro White Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro Black Poly: 1.3mm-1.5mm
  • Enduro White Under Coat 1.5mm-1.8mm
  • Enduro Clear Poly: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Pre Cat Lacquer: 1.1mm-1.3mm
  • Enduro Conversion Varnish: 1.1mm-1.3mm

Air caps should be medium size. Contact your supplier to verify proper tip sizes for your specific equipment.

Break your work into sections such as dresser top or drawer fronts. Spraying too large of an area can result in a textured grainy surface. A correctly sprayed finish should appear even and glossy. It is important to spray enough material to allow proper flow and leveling of the finish.

Spray medium wet films at 3-5 wet ml thickness. Practice makes perfect. If you have never sprayed finishes before, take a large piece of cardboard and practice your technique first. Spray water on the cardboard to learn how the gun works. Check your fluid settings and adjust the controls to get comfortable with the spray angles and to develop your technique.

SPRAYING TOPCOATS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. For topcoats, overlap each pass 25% to conceal lines.

Watch our video how to spray water based topcoats here.

SPRAYING WATER BASED WOOD STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage and wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. 

SPRAYING WATER BASED DYE STAINS:

Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6 to 8 wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage. If coverage is even, there is no need to wipe. If you have issues with uneven coverage, wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" to reduce overspray. 

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Trouble Shooting Guide for Spraying Water Based Finishes

  • Rough, dry surface. This is called dry spray. You may have sprayed too lightly. Re-sand the finish with #320 paper and apply a heavier coat. Keep your gun at 6-8" from the surface.
  • Dimples in the finish. This is called orange peel, caused by spraying in temperatures that are too cool. Cooler temperatures will adversely affect how the finish will level and harden. Water based finishes must be applied at temperatures above 65 F. If it is cold enough to wear a sweater it is too cold to apply a water based finish. The surface of the wood must also be warm. If you turn the heat on when you enter your shop in the morning, the air heats up quickly but your furniture will still be cold for some time. Check the surface to see if it is warm. Also, check the temperature of the finish. Warming cold finish by setting the can next to a heater or setting the container in some hot water for 5 minutes will improve the ease of application. Note: Larger dimples are called "fish-eyes" or "craters". Cool temperatures can cause these, but the more likely source is contamination of the finish with either wax or silicone
  • Blush. Blush, the term for a cloudy, milky appearance in the finish, has two causes. The most common reason is incompatible stain. For example, using a water based top coat over a heavy oil based stain. When the top coat is applied, the oil in the stain seeps up through the finish and reacts with the acrylic causing a chemical blush. To prevent this
    • Increase dry times when changing from an oil based finish to a water based finish.
      • Allow an oil based finish to dry 72 hours before a water based finish.
      • Allow a water based finish to dry 24 hours over an oil based finish.
    • Use a quick drying water based stain. If you choose to use oil based stain, seal the stain with a coat of shellac or lacquer sealer. This will provide a barrier between the oil and the acrylic. Proper drying time between the oil stain and finish coats is essential! The other cause for blushing is high humidity.
    • Spraying water based finish in humidities of over 75% may cause blushing because moisture becomes trapped beneath the finish and cannot evaporate. You can prevent this condition by increasing air movement in the finishing area with a fan. All water needs to evaporate is sufficient air movement. You can also improve drying conditions by increasing the temperature in the drying area.
  • Surface is not leveling out. In hot temperatures (85F - 100F) the finish may dry too fast. Use General Finishes Extender to open (increase) the dry time. Finishes that dry too fast may not completely level out before all the water evaporates from the finish.

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*Can I Spray Arm-R-Seal?

Arm-R-Seal can be sprayed successfully, but we prefer hand application methods because it is very easy to spray too much in one area. If you choose to spray, use very thin coats and watch for runs (large drips that run down the side of your project).

If you notice a run, immediately wipe or brush it out. If you correct a run promptly, you will not see a mark. However, dried runs can be difficult to remove.

Wear a mask and work in a well-ventilated spray booth.

Size: Small Needle Nozzle (1mm)
 

 

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*What Sprayer Should I Use?

Although we spray product all the time in our workshop, with several sprayers ranging from airless to HVLP, we do not consider ourselves to be spray gun experts.

To get the latest information, we recommend you contact Jeff Jewitt of Homestead Finishing Products and/or Paint Sprayers Plus for the best advice.

Between these two resources, you should get the information you need.

SPRAYERS THAT WE HAVE USED IN THE SHOP

1. The Earlex Sprayer Station 5500 is an entry-level spray gun with a self-contained pressure system that sprays our paint quite well. It comes with a 2.0 mm tip for paints and a 1.5 mm tip for clears. You can learn more about this product by going here.

The Earlex Spray Station 5500 has been used for the following GF spray demo videos:

2. The 3M Accuspray HG18 16570 is also easy to use, It filters the material, and the spray head is disposable. This is one of the units we spray within the woodshop. It uses a 1.5-1.8 mm tip for paints and clears. Check out the 3M Accuspray product listing on Amazon here.

3. Home Decor Sprayer by Wagner is another entry level sprayer that is easy to use, saves time, and works well with GF products. You can purchase this sprayer directly through the Wagner website for under $100- here.

We have used the Wagner Home Decor Paint Sprayer for the following videos:

 

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Why does GF Milk Paint look different when applied with a spray gun versus a brush application?

Milk Paint is not like a filler-based wall paint. It is engineered for high-use applications such as table tops and cabinets that require considerably more durability than a wall. The resins that make Milk Paint durable change the properties of it, so you have to handle it differently. The type of applicator you use will change the thickness of the film and affect the appearance GF Milk Paint.

When refinishing kitchen cabinets, our contractor customers often roll the face frames and spray the doors. If there are any corners or edges that need to be filled in with a brush, do this before spraying or rolling. Then complete the entire section with one type applicator. With this approach you will notice a slight difference between the frame and the cabinet door, but the difference is considerably less obvious than it would be if you sprayed and rolled on this same surface. 

Secondly, always stir the can well just BEFORE and DURING use. If there is any delay, the ingredients will start separating. Color separation is a condition that the paint industry calls "float". This is very typical with specific colors such as grays because of the large variance in gravities of the pigments required to create the color.  In gray for instance, Ti02 (white) is 3.4 and black is 1.62. The lower density will float. This phenomena will not occur in colors that have less variance in densities. If it is a large project, we recommend continuing to stir during use to keep color properties consistent.

 

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Technique Tips

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How do I create a glaze with General Finishes Gel Stain?

Yes- just add 10% mineral spirits. You can add more mineral spirits, but test first. The mixture will thin out quickly.

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Can I use steel wool with water based finishes?

No, because the particles can become embedded and rust. Some alternatives are Klingspor Synthetic Wool and Meka Mirlon 1500 synthetic wool.

Steel wool is still an acceptable option for oil based finishes. GF recommends using "oil-free" 0000 wool from Liberon because it doesn't shred as easy as hardware store brands.

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*What is the Best Applicator to use for Milk Paint and Water Based Topcoat?

Either bristle or foam brushes will work well with Milk Paint and Top Coat. The folks at GF might use several types of brushes for a project.

For example:

  • We like to use a bristle brush (which loads up more paint) to get Milk Paint on the surface, and then use a water or Extender dampened foam brush to smooth out the finish.​
  • ​​​​​​Bristle brushes are particularly helpful on vertical and detailed surfaces but they can produce subtle texture.
  • Foam brushes tend to produce a smoother finish which can be particularly helpful on flat horizontal surfaces.
  • Pad Applicators or paint rollers are also helpful on larger horizontal surfaces such as a table top.

For folks who don't want to invest in several brushes, the foam brush is our recommendation.

The very best application method is spraying.

 

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What is the best way to obtain a more durable finish with a flat sheen?

The popular flat sheens are lovely but they have different attributes than glossy finishes. The flatting agents required to reduce sheen in flat or matte topcoats also slightly reduce clarity, water resistance, durability and resistance to chemicals such as ketchup, soap, chemical cleaners, or ammonia. This is not much of a concern in low use areas but is important for table tops or kitchen cabinets.

Here is a tip to improve the performance of your finish and still obtain a matte sheen: 
Use a semi-gloss sheen for the first two coats and a flat for the third for optimum performance. 
 
General Finishes is constantly seeking new resins and additives to improve the performance of our finishes.

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Can I use steel wool to buff out water based finishes?

Never use steel wool with water based finishes because the particles can become embedded into your project and rust. Klingspor Synthetic Wool and Mera MIrlon 1500 synthetic wool are great alternatives.   

Steel Wool is still an acceptable option for oil based finishes. Liberon 0000 Steel Wool is a good choice, as it does not shred as easily as the hardware store brands. 

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*Is Topcoat Required Between Gel Stain and Water Based Glaze Effects?

Yes - this is not a good place to take shortcuts. GF Gel Stain gets its deep rich hue from a large number of colorants. Seal the stain with a topcoat before applying glaze to prevent "color pull."

The glaze will also glide more easily over the surface after topcoat is applied, allowing you greater control of how much color you want to use. Be sure to wait 72 hours when applying water-based finishes over oil-based finishes.

Here is a sample finish schedule:

  1. Prep sand and clean
  2. Apply stain
  3. Apply a layer of topcoat to prevent color bleed thru and make glazing easier
  4. Apply Glaze Effects
  5. Apply 2-3 coats of topcoat to protect the entire project

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How do I remove the smell of tobacco from furniture before refinishing?

  1. Spray your project inside and out with Ozuim Sanitizer.
  2. Place a box or bowl of charcoal briquettes inside your project.
  3. Cover your entire project with plastic and let it sit for 24 hours.
  4. Clean your project with a Scotch Brite pad and a 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and water.
  5. Sand the surface with a 150 or 180 grit sanding pad. We recommend Softback Sanding Sponges.
  6. If there is still bit of lingering odor, a coat of shellac may help.

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Does adding Dye Stain Reducer to Dye Stain lighten the color?

Yes, one of its uses is to dilute dye stain colors. Dye Stain reducer is the clear base the we use when manufacturing our dye stains. We make the reducer first, then add the dye color.

It is easy to make your own custom color Dye Stain by adding in 10% increments until you achieve the color you want. It is not possible to mix too much of our dye stain or reducer together.

Additionally, General Finishes Water Based Stains can be mixed into the reducer, which will lighten the color and thin the viscosity so it will penetrate deeper into the wood.

You can also mix other manufacturers dyes such as TransTint dye concentrate, sold in many wood working stores.

We do not recommend using water to lighten dye stain. Reducer has ingredients to help keep color molecules dispersed evenly in the can.

 

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How do I prevent bleed through when applying Whitewash over Espresso Water Based Stain?

Water Based Stains will always exhibit a bit of bleed through. When glazing with any color over water stains, we recommend some type of seal coat be applied first. Unfortunately, the two colors you have chosen do not work very well together. Expresso will always bleed if Whitewash is applied directly over top. In the future seal the Espresso stain with a coat Shellac,  and then High Performance, allowing both to dry,  before applying Whitewash as a glaze (1 part stain, 1 part top coat mix). 
 
We suggest two remedies:
1. Strip away finish and start over.
Stain with Espresso, top with Shellac, top that with 1-2 coats HP, top that with Whitewash as a glaze (Glaze = 1:1 EF stain : HP). Seal with High Performance.
2. Paint over the bleeding stain
Seal current finish with Shellac and then paint with Seagull Gray Milk Paint.
Any time you apply a light stain over a dark stain there is a possibility of bleed through. Therefore, it's important to seal off the base color first. If the look of the wood grain is not important, Dark Chocolate Milk Paint is an exact match to Java Gel Stain when painted, and it could be used as an alternative base color.

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How do I know if my finish is dry enough to recoat?

There are several ways to determine whether a surface is dry:
OIL BASED products are dry if they are no longer tacky and do not emit a smell.

WATER BASED products are try if they no longer feel cool to the touch and a powder will form with light sanding.

 

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What topcoat should I use on Padauk Wood?

We recommend an oil based finish such as Arm-R-Seal. Oily woods can be tricky with any topcoat. The high oil content affects the drying process of the finish coats and Padauk has a very high oil content. Sometimes oily woods dry fine and sometimes they take weeks.

Try wiping the wood with alcohol or acetone to dry the oils before coating. This technique may help but does not work all of the time - each piece of wood is different. To be safe, always plan on a long dry time.

 

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Will Gel Stains darken with another coat?

Yes, each layer will darken your project even more. You can also start with a lighter color Gel Stain, and layer on darker colors See step by step photo instructions on how to layer Gel Stain Colors on the GF Blog. Click on the first photo and follow along with this photo tutorial as we finish a walnut table with 1 coat of Java Gel Stain over Nutmeg Gel Stain. Completed with 3 coats of Gel Satin Topcoat. Table design by John Harryman.

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Should I use a coat of Gel Topcoat on raw wood to achieve an more even color before staining?

While Gel Stain can be applied over an existing finish, it was originally engineered for raw wood surfaces. We prefer applying the Gel Stain over a slip coat of mineral spirits instead of topcoat as shown in this video. (http://bit.ly/1WwDUQ1) 

The slip coat will reduce the drag and help the stain "glide on" easier. The other important technique shown in this video is to apply the stain liberally in sections and remove the excess quickly. Gel Stain is so pigment rich you will get an uneven application if you try to dab it on with a dry rag.

Applying over a layer of top coat is acceptable, but there are two big benefits of applying the stain directly to the wood or over a slip coat.

1) The beauty of the grain is highlighted. This effect will be greatly diminished if the stain is applied over an existing finish.

2) Less coats are required to obtain a dark color.

Preparation and application techniques along with dry time between coats are all different when applying Gel Stain over raw wood vs. an existing finish.

Dry time differences:

http://bit.ly/TZTLwL

 

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How can I tint or mix your Black Glaze to make a custom grey color?

There are three ways.

  1. Mix with small amount of Snow White Milk Paint
  2. Add a small amount of EF White Wood Stain
  3. Professional users could add Enduro White

 

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What are the benefits of using sanding sealer before applying topcoat?

You can substitute your first coat or two of topcoat with a sanding sealer. This saves time (faster sanding, faster drying) and money (it costs less than topcoat). It is a softer finish, making the first coat easier to sand.

  • Sanding sealer can be used over raw wood or a stained surface. It makes a strong barrier coat when working with existing finishes. 
  • The resin particle is also larger so the finish "builds faster" (how thick it looks).
  • It has strong adhesion properties. It does not stop tannin or dye bleed through, but it definitely improves adhesion.    
  • We recommend no more than 1-3 coats, then finish with 1-2 coats of topcoat.
  • Sanding sealer dries tack free in 10-20 minutes. Drying Time: 1-2 hours under normal conditions. (70F -70% humidity)  
  • Sanding sealer can be used with all of our water based and oil based finishes except Endur-o-var.

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW TO USE:
1. Stain or paint
2. Apply one coat of sanding sealer, finish sand before applying topcoat.
3. Apply two coats of topcoat, finish sanding in between coats.

Here is a video on finish sanding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lrOfipJZVk

 

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How can I create a custom glaze, wash, varnish or stain?

You can design your own custom glazes, stains, washes, and varnishes with General Finishes intermixable water-based products. See tips and recipes below:

For all of the following mixes, GF recommends the following two steps:

  1. Applying a base layer of High Performance Top Coat before applying your custom glaze.
  2. Protect all of these finishes with 2-3 coats of top coat when you are finished.


Pastel Glaze/Whitewash:

Milk Paint + Winter White Glaze Effects -OR- Milk Paint + Water Based Whitewash Wood Stain

NOTE: Do not add more than 50% paint. If you add more than 50% you will have so much pigment that it will be difficult to wipe away the finish.


Custom Glaze:

For example, Pitch Black Glaze Effects + Winter White Glaze Effects

Experiment with proportions and colors.


Wood Stain as a Glaze:

Water Based Wood Stain + 10% High Performance Top Coat -OR- Oil Based Wood Stain + 10% Mineral SpiritsNote: Make sure that you wait 72 hours before applying a water based top coat on top of an oil-based stain.


Aged/Varnish Glaze:

Water Based Wood Stain  + High Performance Top Coat 50:50 ratio - OR - Dye Stain + High Performance Top Coat 50:50 ratio


Custom Stain Colors:

1 part Milk Paint + 1 part Pre-Stain Natural [50:50 mix]
-or-
1 part Milk Paint + 1 part Glaze Effects - Clear Base [50:50 mix]
-or-
1 part Milk Paint +  2 parts Water Based Stain Natural [1:2 parts]

Note: Proportions are relative to the color you are reducing. Some colors may require 2 parts clear base to reduce strength, others may require 1. Begin with a 50:50 mix, and add more clear base if necessary.

Note: You can further increase the color palette by mixing 2 or 3 Milk Paint colors together before adding the clear base.

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*Which General Finishes Products Would Work Best on a Restaurant Table?

GF has two products that would work well.

For non-professional finishers, we recommend using General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Topcoat.

Arm-R-Seal is oil based and will amber. Be sure to apply liberally with a foam brush or roller, letting the product self-level a bit. A liberal application will help you avoid streaks caused by back-brushing and pressure. Stir product thoroughly before and during application because flatting agents settle quickly in a solvent base finish.

For experienced professional finishers who spray, we recommend our two-step General Finishes Conversion Varnish, which would cure in half the time and dries clear.

Even though General Finishes products are water resistant, they are not impervious to standing water condensation (like an epoxy finish). As with any fine furniture finish, spills should be wiped up in a timely manner. We recommend using coasters to protect your wood from water condensation and pot holders to protect from heat.

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Should I use Pre-Stain Conditioner Before Staining a Douglas Fir Door to prevent blotching?

Douglas Fir is a difficult wood to stain evenly. A 50|50 mix of your Exterior 450 stain color and Exterior 450 Clear would be a better choice for an exterior conditioner. Blotching may still occur even with this procedure.

After applying the conditioner mix, let it dry 2-3 hours. Allow more time in humid weather. Then a apply the stain color of your choice. Multiple coats will deepen the color.

 

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Can I apply Glaze Effects under UV Cure Urethane Topcoat?

Yes, General Finishes Glaze Effects can be applied under the UV Cure Urethane topcoat. We recommend applying a coat of General Finishes Enduro Clear Poly before applying glaze for more control of the color.

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I just watched your video on dry brushing Gel Stain. Can I use ethynol alcohol instead of mineral spirits to keep the brush discharged during application?

Yes, but it will evaporate much more quickly so you will need to rewet the discharge pad more frequently. See the video below for how to update existing finishes using a dry brush technique.

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*What Wood Finish Would Be Best to Use On an Existing Wicker Finish?

It would depend on whether you plan to use the furniture outside or under the protection of a roof. Theoretically, both water and oil-based products could be used.

For example, you could "antique" wicker with thinned Gel Stain to pop up the color depth on an aging piece of natural wicker. However, Gel Stain is not exterior-rated and is very thick, making it cumbersome to apply and wipe off on a highly textured surface such as wicker.

In general, we would recommend using water-based finishes on wicker because they can be spayed.

For an exterior finish, use our Milk Paint because it is an exterior rated paint, does not require a topcoat, and has superb adhesion and color longevity characteristics. If using in an exterior space, clear coating with Exterior 450 is optional.

One challenge would be proper preparation over an existing surface. Prep sanding is not effective because of all the varied surfaces of wicker, so thorough cleaning would more essential. Use a brush and a 50|50 mixture of denatured alcohol and water.  

The second challenge is that wicker moves when used so be prepared for cracking if you are using paint. Fortunately, a casual look is a popular one for porches and cracking would be acceptable.

 

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Can I create a glaze with General Finishes Water Based Stains?

General Finishes stains make beautiful glazes. Just add 10% High Performance Top Coat. 

 

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How do I prep kitchen cabinets with an existing finish before painting or recoating with a stain?

This response is true of prepping and existing finish on furniture, but kitchen cabinets are more problematic because they are work areas where grease, steam, food splatters and oil from hands are common. Prep is basically degreasing and abrading the surface for better adhesion. Oil or substances on hands really show up on a failed re-finish around door knobs and hands if the surface is not cleaned thoroughly. Because of this, General Finishes believes there is no such thing as a "no prep" paint. We would be leading our customers down the path failure if we touted our products as such. Dirt, grime, oil from hands, wax, dusting sprays that contain silicone, oil soaps or wax prevent good adhesion causing the possibility of chipping, peeling and flaking - all signs of a failed finish. This is the number one reason we see for finish failure. The second is not allowing enough dry time.

The heart of the problem is that we often don't know what was used on the cabinets previously. If dusting sprays that contain silicone have previously been used, the risk of finish failure is high. There are no guarantees with silicone - it is almost impossible to remove. Here are our recommendations. It sounds like a lot of work because it is - charge more.

CLEANING AND PRIMING:

  1. Scrub with a degreasing detergent such as Spic and Span or Dawn soap first. WATCH this video about cleaning with Dawn detergent. Follow with a thorough rinse to remove all of the soap, and then by the 50/50 mix of water and denatured alcohol. Let your piece dry thoroughly. Then scuff sand with a 320 Grit Klingspor Ultra Flex Sanding PAD (or 400 grit sandpaper) and remove the dust. There are other sanding PADS out there - just make sure the grit is not too aggressive or you man sand down corners and edges down to bare wood.
  2. We prefer a 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and water because it does not contain phosphates, is inexpensive, is readily available and does not require rinsing. You can use commercial furniture cleaners but check the label for phosphates - they will leave a residue behind that requires rinsing.
  3. Put down a coat of General Finishes Sanding Sealer. GF Sanding Sealer can be used over cleaned and prepped existing finishes that will create a strong barrier with superior adhesion properties. The resin particle is larger so it builds fast, and finish sanding is a breeze. (Note: We cannot comment on other sanding sealers because several on the market state dry times that are so short that our paint and stains would fail.)
  4. You can apply Gel Stain over the sanding sealer after 24 hours.
  5. You can apply paint or water based stain over the sanding sealer after 3 hours.
  6. You can apply a white primer over the sanding sealer if you want to color correct for a white paint.

OTHER CLEANING INFO:

  • You can use vinegar, bleach or ammonia solutions, but our experience shows they are usually not aggressive enough for kitchen cabinets. We do not recommend using ammonia with water-based finishes as it can cause the finish to blush (turn white).
  • Never use steel wool with water based products because the particles can become embedded and rust. Some alternatives are Klingspor Synthetic Wool and Merka Mirlon 1500 synthetic wool.
  • Steel wool is still an acceptable option with oil-based finishes. GF recommends using oil-free 0000 wool from Liberon because it doesn't shred as easily as the hardware store brands.
  • NEVER USE mineral spirits to prep clean before applying water-based finishes. You can correct this problem by cleaning again with a 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and water. Let your project dry 24 hours before applying water-based products.

PROTECT YOURSELF. There are two ways to protect yourself:

  1. Use a contract and have customers sign off on a warranty. It is extremely exhausting and frightening to be faced with a customer angry over a failed finish. You cannot warrant a finish over unknown substances. Here is a suggestion for your contracts:

We cannot warrant finishes over an existing piece of furniture without knowing the history. If products containing silicone dusting powders, oil soaps or waxes have been previously used on the piece, they may contaminate a new finish and prevent adhesion. In these situations, it is best to strip and sand the entire piece. Occasionally, a previous wax finish or silicone may be impossible to remove.

______(Initials) I acknowledge that this piece has never been waxed/polished with a silicon-based dusting spray or cleaned with oil soaps.

______(Initials) I have no knowledge of waxes, silicone-based dusting sprays or oil soap products being used on my cabinets.

     2. Take the most used drawer or door in the kitchen and test your finish schedule first. And charge for it.

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How can I thin Gel Stain?

Gel Stain can be mixed with up to 50% Liquid Oil Stain but be aware that this will thin the viscosity. We recommend starting with 10% Liquid Oil Stain and testing to your satisfaction. Add more Liquid Stain as needed up to 50%. The mix will be thin and more translucent, but will not lose any of its properties for adhesion and curing.

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How important is the "hardness" of a wood finish?

The hardness properties of a wood finish are formulated around the objectives of use. A hard finish is desirable on projects that get heavy wear. The most common are kitchen cabinets and table tops. 

But in other situations, such as an outdoor topcoat, a desired property of the finish is elongation, which allows the topcoat to expand and contract through different extremes of temperature. 

Flooring finish is another example where hardness is not the major objective of formulation. Just like outdoor furniture, wood floors expand and contact through the seasons of the year, responding to heat, air conditioning and changes in humidity. The floor finish needs to elongate or flex as the wood moves. This can be problematic for floors which are often subject to heavy use, including dogs nails. Pet nails will not scratch a good floor finish all the way through the wood, but the nails will in dent or Imprint the surface of the floor. It is impossible to combine equal properties of flexibility and hardness in a floor finish, so you have to accept some limitations at the outset. You can improve the life of your wood floor finish by selecting a denser wood for your floors, hickory, maple or white oak instead of pine for instance. Or just live with the indentations. This is another instance where dogs rule.

Heavy sunlight will also affect harder finishes applied in sun saturated areas such as window sills, causing finishes to become brittle and crack.

You can keep costs down and have a better result if you match the properties of the finish to the needs of the project. One of General Finishes hardest water based topcoats is Conversion varnish, which requires a catalyst and is recommend for use by professionals. It cures in half the time of most topcoats, allowing the finisher to pack and ship sooner, but the price point would make it overkill for other uses. Other factoids:

  • Arm-R-Seal is GFs hardest oil finish, but it does not have elongation properties, so its great for tables but not as compatible for floors.
  • Although GFs Exterior 450 is formulated to be flexible and resist water, water based High Performance or oil based Arm-R-Seal would work very nicely for a bathroom cabinet.
  • Flat Out Flat is hard but the matting agents and additives that give FOF the look of wax impair chemical resistance  

It is impossible to combine equal properties of flexibility, hardness and chemical resistance in a finish, so be sure to select the correct product for your finishing project.

 

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Buffing Out the Final Coat of Finish

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How do I reduce the sheen of an oil based top coat?

Rub down the finish with 0000 steel wool and Orange Oil to lower the sheen. Never use steel wool with water based finishes. The steel wool particles can become embedded into your project and rust. Liberon 0000 Steel Wool is a good choice for steel wool, as it does not shred as easily as the hardware store brands. 

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*Can I Use Orange Oil To Rub or Buff a Finish To a High Gloss?

Rubbing or Buffing out a Finish:

  1. Shake container well.
  2. Wipe on a thin, even coat with a clean cloth.
  3. Let sit 1-2 minutes.
  4. Buff off the excess with a buffing or sanding pad (see below) in the direction of the wood grain. The higher/finer grit you use, the easier it will be to achieve a high-gloss finish.
  5. Buffing Tools:
    1. Norton Abrasives, Yellow Block
      • 1000-grit, 1500-grit, 2000-grit
      • Creates a high-gloss finish
    2. Klingspor Fusion Pads
      • 2800- to 3500-grit
      • Ideal for painted and gloss finishes
    3. Klingspor Superfine Sanding Pad
      • 220-grit
      • General purpose option for rubbing out topcoats and paints with a flat or satin sheen.
    4. Merka Mirlon Pads
      • Total 1500 (gray)
      • Total 2500 (gold)
      • Ideal for oil-based finishes or between coats of paint

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How do I repair a section that I have buffed through using Enduro-Var over an epoxy on a guitar

Our first concern is the use of the epoxy. Although you have may had success with this process previously, we do not recommend the use of Enduro-Var with epoxy or any oil based products. Enduro-Var works well on its own or with GFs water based finishes. There is a great possibility that future finishes can fail. 
 
Nor do we recommend adding denatured alcohol, which should not be used in any of General Finishes water based products. Denatured alcohol can change the polarity of a finish formula, kicking out polymer particles that would look like grit on the surface. Denatured alcohol could also deactivate the defoamers in the formula.
 
The use of Extender won't help you. It is a water based product and will not melt through existing layers of finish in the same manner that solvent finishes do.
 
We interpret that you are trying to remove witness lines which are basically sanding marks. For your current situation, we recommend attempting to build the area with just Enduro-Var, then buffing out with a 2000-3000 grit. You may have to sand down and start over if that is not successful.
 
Future forward. Use Enduro-Var on its own. Although it is a favorite among Luthiers, it is a unique hybrid finish that does not pay well with other finishes.

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Is it safe to buff Arm-R-Seal with an auto polish? I have read of this in several magazines.

We know of many customers that have found it safe to buff Arm-R-Seal with auto polishes providing that the finish has cured for 7 to 10 days. Since auto polish is a product that GF does not manufacture, be sure to test in a small area to your satisfaction first.

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How do I buff out High Performance water based topcoat to a high gloss?

There are several techniques by Jeff Jewitt of Homestead Finishing Products:

Dry buff with Mirka Royal Micro Paper

Using Mirka Royal Micro sandpaper, always start with 1500 grit sandpaper. Begin with a small area, make 2-3 passes, then evaluate results. Go to a heavier grit if surface irregularities are not fully removed. Finish with 1500 grit paper.

Dry/wet buff with Abralon Polishing Discs

Start by dry sanding with Abralon 2000 then 4000. Start slowly, monitor to see if buildup is occurring. A large sized table might take 5-25 sheets of paper.  If needed, lubricate by moistening with GF Satin Wax, mineral spirits, or naphtha. Never use water as a lubicant. If lubricated, one sheet of 1000 or 1500 should do the entire table.

Buffing/Polishing with Presta

You can use Presta's polishing kits.
Spray Presta polish on buffing pad stuff to lubricate the pad. Apply a quarter sized dab of polish to sand one section. Spread with pad. Continue section by section. Mist buffing pad with Presta lubricating material when it gets too dry. You should be able to use a buffing pad on 10-20 tables before washing and reusing.
 
When done, mist entire surface with and buff with a micro-cloth to remove splatter

NOTE: Never wet sand a water-based finish.

 

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How do I remove loose fibers that got caught in my last coat of Arm-R-Seal?

You can lightly buff with 0000 steel wool and orange oil - nothing too aggressive.

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How can I buff Enduro-Var Gloss to a higher gloss?

Contributed by Jeff Jewitt of Homestead Finishing Supplies

Day 1:

  • Prep sand the wood with 220 grit sand paper.
  • Spray a wet coat of Enduro-Var Gloss and dry for 2 hours.
  • Level sand with 320 grit sand paper.
  • Spray a second coat wet coat and dry for two hours.
  • Lightly sand with 320 grit sand paper.
  • Spray a third wet coat and dry overnight.

Day 2:

  • Level sand with 320 grit sand paper.
  • Wipe down with water mixed with 5% Denatured Alcohol
  • Spray a fourth wet coat 2-3 mils thick and dry 1 hour
  • Spray 3 more coats with 1 hour between coats for a total of 4 coats the second day.

Let your project dry 1 week:

  • Level sand dry with Mirka P800
  • Dry sand with P1200 Mirka P1200
  • Dry sand with 2000 grit Mirka Abralon

(Note- Do not use any lubricants of any type for sanding)

Final: 

Buff 3M Finesse-It Material on with foam buffing pad to high gloss

 

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How do I remove brush strokes from the 3rd coat of High Performance?

Sand down the finish with a 220 foam sanding pad and then add another layer of topcoat more liberally than you did previously without heavy back brushing. Let the topcoat self level a bit- it will tighten down as it dries. If it's above 80*F or if it's low humidity in the space you're working, we recommend adding 10% GF Extender to the topcoat to improve open time. 

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Dry Times for Finishes Applied Over an Existing Finished Surface

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*What is the Difference Between Dry Time and Cure Time?

Dry time is the recommended length of time between coats of product, often called recoat time, and cure time is the length of time recommended before subjecting your finished project to daily use.

The following factors can influence your dry time:

TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY

All of General Finishes products' dry and cure time recommendations are subject to the conditions of the room in which you are refinishing and storing your piece. Ideal conditions are 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) and 70% humidity. Cooler temperatures and high humidity levels can prolong dry time any from 8-10 hours.

APPLYING OIL AND WATER-BASED PRODUCTS TO THE SAME PROJECT

When applying an oil-based product over a water-based product and vice versa, dry time increases. It's extremely important to be sure your first application of finish has completely dried before applying the next layer. When switching from an oil-based product to a water-based product, wait 72 hours to apply your next coat of product. When switching from a water-based product to an oil-based product, wait 24 hours.

YOUR STARTING SURFACE

Applying product to a raw wood surface will result in a shorter dry time. When applying over an existing finish, dry time increases.

METHOD OF APPLICATION

Painting your finish on will require a  longer dry time. If you are applying and then wiping off, or spraying, dry time is less.

Before adding additional coats of product, the following DRY times should be honored:

The following are average CURE times based on recommended temperature and humidity:

  • 21 days for water-based products
  • 30 days for oil-based products
  • You can use a piece lightly after about 7 days but be cautious - the finish will still be curing for another 2 or 3 weeks.

Some of General Finishes wait times might seem a bit generous but we need to account for all variables beyond our control. You can test your surface for dryness ahead of schedule by knowing what to look for. There are two ways to tell if it is an oil-based product is dry. If it is no longer tacky and it doesn't smell, it is dry. You can tell if a water-based product is dry by touching it. If its cool to the touch, it's not dry. If you can sand a water-based topcoat to a powder, its dry.  

Note - General Finishes Enduro-Var should never be used in conjunction with oil-based products.

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What is the best temperature to apply wood finishes?

Ideal Conditions are 70 degrees F and 50-70% humidity.

Refinishing furniture in a space that is below or above the 65-75 degrees F range can lead to problems, and a space below 55 degrees F is definitely too cold. One issue caused by cold temperatures with WATER BASED TOP COATS is the development of dimples in the finish called Orange Peel.

The colder your space it is, the longer you have to wait between coats. Cold temperatures slow the dry time and affect how quickly the finish will level, harden and cure. Our easy rule of thumb is; if it is cold enough to wear a sweater it is too cold to apply a water based finish.

If you must apply WATER BASED TOP COATS in cool conditions, add Accelerator to speed water evaporation from the finish. Make sure the finish and the surface of the place you are working on is at room temperature. You can warm up the finish by placing the can in hot water for 5 minutes beforehand, and if possible, move the piece back into warmer temperature after applying finishes for the 7 days of cure time.

OIL BASED finishes are not as affected by cooler temperatures, but lower temps will still slow the oxidation of the finish. GF again suggest moving the piece back into warmer temperature after applying finishes for the 7 days of cure time. You can apply oil based finishes in as low as 60 degrees if necessary.

WARNING: Applying OIL BASED finishes near an open flame or combustible heater is VERY DANGEROUS. The mineral spirit mixes with fumes from kerosene, for example, creating an unsafe environment.

Conversely, if you are working in HOT, DRY climates any WATER BASE finish will dry faster. GF Extender can be added to water based products to increase dry time in those situations.

Ideal temperature to store product: 65-75 degrees F. Garages are not a good place to store any finish.

NOTE:

We have been asked whether it is OK to paint in a 50 degrees F shop if the paint is stored at a safe temperature beforehand, and the finished piece is moved into a room with a safe temperature to dry. This approach might work, but it's risky.

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Dry Times for Finishes Applied Over Raw Wood

Return

*What is the Difference Between Dry Time and Cure Time?

Dry time is the recommended length of time between coats of product, often called recoat time, and cure time is the length of time recommended before subjecting your finished project to daily use.

The following factors can influence your dry time:

TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY

All of General Finishes products' dry and cure time recommendations are subject to the conditions of the room in which you are refinishing and storing your piece. Ideal conditions are 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) and 70% humidity. Cooler temperatures and high humidity levels can prolong dry time any from 8-10 hours.

APPLYING OIL AND WATER-BASED PRODUCTS TO THE SAME PROJECT

When applying an oil-based product over a water-based product and vice versa, dry time increases. It's extremely important to be sure your first application of finish has completely dried before applying the next layer. When switching from an oil-based product to a water-based product, wait 72 hours to apply your next coat of product. When switching from a water-based product to an oil-based product, wait 24 hours.

YOUR STARTING SURFACE

Applying product to a raw wood surface will result in a shorter dry time. When applying over an existing finish, dry time increases.

METHOD OF APPLICATION

Painting your finish on will require a  longer dry time. If you are applying and then wiping off, or spraying, dry time is less.

Before adding additional coats of product, the following DRY times should be honored:

The following are average CURE times based on recommended temperature and humidity:

  • 21 days for water-based products
  • 30 days for oil-based products
  • You can use a piece lightly after about 7 days but be cautious - the finish will still be curing for another 2 or 3 weeks.

Some of General Finishes wait times might seem a bit generous but we need to account for all variables beyond our control. You can test your surface for dryness ahead of schedule by knowing what to look for. There are two ways to tell if it is an oil-based product is dry. If it is no longer tacky and it doesn't smell, it is dry. You can tell if a water-based product is dry by touching it. If its cool to the touch, it's not dry. If you can sand a water-based topcoat to a powder, its dry.  

Note - General Finishes Enduro-Var should never be used in conjunction with oil-based products.

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What is the best temperature to apply wood finishes?

Ideal Conditions are 70 degrees F and 50-70% humidity.

Refinishing furniture in a space that is below or above the 65-75 degrees F range can lead to problems, and a space below 55 degrees F is definitely too cold. One issue caused by cold temperatures with WATER BASED TOP COATS is the development of dimples in the finish called Orange Peel.

The colder your space it is, the longer you have to wait between coats. Cold temperatures slow the dry time and affect how quickly the finish will level, harden and cure. Our easy rule of thumb is; if it is cold enough to wear a sweater it is too cold to apply a water based finish.

If you must apply WATER BASED TOP COATS in cool conditions, add Accelerator to speed water evaporation from the finish. Make sure the finish and the surface of the place you are working on is at room temperature. You can warm up the finish by placing the can in hot water for 5 minutes beforehand, and if possible, move the piece back into warmer temperature after applying finishes for the 7 days of cure time.

OIL BASED finishes are not as affected by cooler temperatures, but lower temps will still slow the oxidation of the finish. GF again suggest moving the piece back into warmer temperature after applying finishes for the 7 days of cure time. You can apply oil based finishes in as low as 60 degrees if necessary.

WARNING: Applying OIL BASED finishes near an open flame or combustible heater is VERY DANGEROUS. The mineral spirit mixes with fumes from kerosene, for example, creating an unsafe environment.

Conversely, if you are working in HOT, DRY climates any WATER BASE finish will dry faster. GF Extender can be added to water based products to increase dry time in those situations.

Ideal temperature to store product: 65-75 degrees F. Garages are not a good place to store any finish.

NOTE:

We have been asked whether it is OK to paint in a 50 degrees F shop if the paint is stored at a safe temperature beforehand, and the finished piece is moved into a room with a safe temperature to dry. This approach might work, but it's risky.

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Color correction (toning)

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My Douglas Fir table has a slight pinkish cast. How can I tone down the pink and still maintain a light stain color?

First, test your surface to get a sense for the color present in the wood. To do this, wipe the surface down with mineral spirits (if you are expecting to use an oil finish) or plain water (if you are expecting to use a water based finish). See the following GF video demonstration for a better understanding of this process.

Next, apply product. Here are two recipes for a lightly stained look:

OIL BASED finish: Create a 50/50 mix of Nutmeg Gel Stain and Gel Satin Top Coat for a natural tone. Seal your surface with 2-3 coats of oil based top coat.

WATER BASED finish: Create a 50/50 mix of Light Brown Dye Stain and High Performance Top Coat or Enduro-Var Top Coat. Seal your surface with 2-3 coats of water based top coat. Remember: High Performance dries clear but Enduro-Var ambers.

Test your mixture in a hidden area of your project before proceeding with the entire project.

 

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Can General Finishes Water Based Top Coats Be Tinted?

All of General Finishes water based topcoats can be tinted to create lightly colored finishes for toning. Toning is the process of adding colorant, either dye or pigment into a top coat and then applying over an entire piece in order to subtly deepen the color.

Some tinting recommendations are:

  • Do not exceed 13 ounces per gallon. Excess amounts of colorant can create surface defects and decrease the viscosity (causing drips, sag, etc.).
  • Tinting a product black only requires about 6 to 8 ounces (based on strength of colorant).
  • Check for colorant compatibly (best to use a zero VOC colorant).
  • Tint off whites with white bases.
  • Enduro-Var top coat cannot be tinted white.
  • GF top coats can also be tinted with General Finishes Dye Stains or Trans Tint Dyes available at many woodworking and paint stores. This produces a transparent tinted finish. Normal addition is usually 2-5% by volume.

GF does not manufacturer colorants. Here are a few sources:

  • Mixol available at Woodcraft
  • Gennex by Benjamin Moore
  • Colortrend 896 or 888, 878

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Can I adjust the color of my Dye Stain?

Yes, there are a couple of ways. Dye Stain Reducer is the clear base that we use when manufacturing General Finishes Dye Stains. The Reducer is made first, then the dye color is added.

It is easy to make your own custom color Dye Stain by adding in 10% increments of Dye Stain color to Reducer until you achieve the color you want. It is not possible to mix too much of our Dye Stain and Reducer together.

Additionally, General Finishes Water Based Wood Stains can be mixed into the Reducer, which will lighten the color and thin the viscosity so it will penetrate deeper into the wood.

You can also mix other manufacturers dyes such as TransTint dye concentrate, sold in many wood working stores.

We do NOT RECOMMEND using water to lighten dye stain. Reducer has ingredients to help keep color molecules dispersed evenly in the can.

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